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QVQ Medium Rare Brisket - Step by Step

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  • Troutman
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    • Aug 2017
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    QVQ Medium Rare Brisket - Step by Step

    Medium rare brisket in and of itself seems to be a contradiction. We’re so used to the low and slow, take it up to over 200* succulent but well done brisket that we all strive to master. But there is an alternative to the traditional, you can call it a poor man’s prime rib. About a year ago I did a side-by-side of traditional versus rare brisket but since then we have had occasion for questioning such an animal. As such I thought I’d do a step-by-step to re-introduce medium rare brisket.

    Of course for those who have done the QVQ pastrami, this is essentially the same basic methodology. Having said that then, the only realistic way to have medium rare, fully tender brisket is via the sous vide process. A long period of time spent in the sous vide bath is the substitute for the low and slow smoking that is required to turn connective tissue and fat into a rendered and delicious piece of meat.

    I’m at somewhat of an advantage because our local grocery chain HEB caters to us Texas brisket junkies. Not only do they deal a wide range of full packers, they always take and piece out flats and points trimming them to where they are ready to cook. Of course instead of $2.99/lb they ask more like $4.99/lb but if you consider the fact that the end result will be nearly prime rib roast like, that isn’t too terrible, given the price of over $10/lb for rib roast these days. So for my Sunday family meal, I picked up this Prime One fully trimmed 4# point section and started with a good overnight dry brine with kosher salt.

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    Once dry brined I seasoned with an abundance of pepper, and some granulated garlic and onion powders. Of course any seasoning you might prefer could be applied at this stage. I was smoking some ribs so the brisket went on with them at about 275*. When the internal got to about 125* I pulled it off the smoker, about 2 hours’ worth of cooking time. I wanted to give it as much time to take on as much smoke as it could and develop some bark. As you can see I got the beginnings of rendered fat and along with some bark formation.

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    After a bit of a rest to cool down, I bagged then double bagged it to assure no leakage during the long bath. It then went into the sous vide bath at 130* for the next 52 hours. There are some who say to keep it there for as long as 72 hours. I really don’t think that’s necessary given the fact that it’s a prime piece of meat. The original recipe I began with was from Kenji and his recommendation of 52 hours works just fine.


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    Did the pinch test at the end of the bath time and plunged it into an ice bath for about 30 minutes. It went into the frig for a couple of days until I could get around to the final Q of the QVQ process on the weekend. Before its final smoke, I pulled it out of the bag and gave it another heavy dose of seasoning (including a dusting of Hank's Beef rub !!).

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    Fired up my 18” WSM (it was the only one clean) and added some mesquite wood chunks. I wanted an aggressive smoke for the final stage. Any type of wood that you think would give the flavor profile you enjoy would be appropriate.

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    Now here is the method I use for the final smoking. I started out rather slowly, about 220* and got the meat on rather cold at around 36*. I slowly ramped up the heat and eventually got the temp up to about 275* over the next two hours. I really wanted to re-set the bark and let the polymerization process re-develop as deeply as possible without exceeding my 130* to 132* original cook temps for a medium rare finish.

    I reached the final temp in about 2 hours of slow smoke, bark came out really pronounced and the meat took on a good deal of smoky taste.

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    Final result was as predicted. Fat was rendered, medium rare finish, tender and delicious. Even took on a smoke ring !!! I’d put the end result up against any low and slow conventional brisket out there. If you’re interested in trying something new and have the time, give this a try. We really enjoy the way it turns out. The beefiness of brisket, with the tenderness of rare prime rib. Troutman is out !!!!

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  • Mosca
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    #2
    Wow... That looks great. Thanks for doing the experimenting!

    Comment

    • BourBonQ
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      #3
      Outstanding

      Comment

      • Polarbear777
        Club Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 1306

        #4
        Very nice. I love medium rare brisket.

        Ive been finishing QVQ hot, say 350F pit with the thought that a large thermal gradient gets the outside hot before the inside can catch up.

        Looks like lower works great too.
        Just shows us that we shouldn’t be satisfied with any process for too long. There are always variables to play with and tests to perform. Don’t want to be creating new “husband’s tales” as
        Meathead would say. Hard to optimize multiple day cooks because of time and variables.

        I do do like that with med-rare QVQ the leftovers don’t get dry. The only problem is you’ve got to make enough to ensure leftovers. :-)

        Comment


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          I got pix that show otherwise...show me your wears. Bark is the development or polymerization of the outer crust of the protein. At higher temps I make the argument that you are doing nothing but charring the very outer layer of seasoning. Sure it may look better, but every time I try it the internal temperature wants to shoot above the 135* mark. So I guess we can agree to disagree.

        • Potkettleblack
          Potkettleblack commented
          Editing a comment
          Bark is both polymerization AND Maillard reaction.
          https://amazingribs.com/more-techniq...s-us-howl-more
          Eventually the rub begins to dry, the Maillard reaction kicks in and the chemistry of the outer layers begin to change. The Maillard reaction works best at high temps, but it can still occur, slowly, at low temps.

          Tell Meathead.

        • Meathead
          Meathead commented
          Editing a comment
          Actually bark is dried meat. Jerky.
      • RonB
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        #5
        Looks like a great job.

        Comment

        • Red Man
          Club Member
          • May 2018
          • 607
          • Western Washington

          #6
          Wow! That sounds/looks amazing! This is the one thing that really tempts me to get into SV.

          Comment


          • Fire Art
            Fire Art commented
            Editing a comment
            Soft boiled Eggs 145 for 1 1/2 hrs is enough reason his Brisket over the top

          • Red Man
            Red Man commented
            Editing a comment
            Over the top is how I roll! 😁

          • BBQ_Bill
            BBQ_Bill commented
            Editing a comment
            I highly recommend getting one. I had a grass fed brisket that was WAY too thin and fatless to simply smoke, but SV along with some low temp smoking made it come out super, plus SV steaks are the bomb. The "edge to edge doneness" control is unbeatable.
        • theroc
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          #7
          Thanks for the fantastic and detailed description of your process Troutman. Can't wait to give this a try.
          Last edited by theroc; April 12th, 2019, 06:23 PM.

          Comment

          • jecucolo
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            #8
            I am cooking 2 briskets this weekend for a party. I am really tempted to QVQ one of them. Thanks for clearly laying out your process it is very understandable!
            I have copied and placed it in my google drive file.
            i noticed you did not hold it in a Cambro any reason for that?

            Comment


            • BBQ_Bill
              BBQ_Bill commented
              Editing a comment
              Agreed, very informative. Thanks much!

            • parkerj2
              parkerj2 commented
              Editing a comment
              you also don't need to rest post sous-vide, according to most resources I've read. something about juices already being distributed evenly due to the method. too much science for my small brain.

            • Polarbear777
              Polarbear777 commented
              Editing a comment
              The hold for traditional process is to extend the time the meat is hot and that allows for more collagen breakdown without increasing the time at high temp. In this case the extended time under SV takes care of all that.
          • Thunder77
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 2505
            • Halethorpe, MD
            • Weber 22.5" Kettle with SnS Brinkmann 5 burner gasser. Akorn Kamado, and Akorn Jr kamado. Love grilling steaks, ribs, and chicken. Need to master smoked salmon Favorite cool weather beer: Sam Adams Octoberfest Favorite warm weather beer: Yuengling Traditional Lager All-time favorite drink: Single Malt Scotch

            #9
            Thank you for the write-up and the pictures! My stomach is growling right now. I really have to try this method.

            Comment

            • Potkettleblack
              Club Member
              • Jun 2016
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              #10
              I say this post was well done, but it’s medium rare. Nice write up.

              Comment


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks bud, you have had a lot of influence over my SVd techniques and understanding.

              • jecucolo
                jecucolo commented
                Editing a comment
                Funny
            • holehogg
              Club Member
              • Nov 2017
              • 1590
              • Port Elizabeth, South Africa

              #11
              Thanks again for your insightful and inspiring contributions.

              Comment

              • Spinaker
                Moderator
                • Nov 2014
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                • John "J R"
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                #12
                Great write up Troutman! I am going to give with a whirl sometime. Great photos!

                Comment

                • Polarbear777
                  Club Member
                  • Sep 2016
                  • 1306

                  #13
                  Troutman i think you need to put a QVQ brisket or pastrami recipe on the free side. We’ve been doing this ever since PKBs interview and while there still is room for tweaking, its too good for folks not to try.

                  Only issue is that’s it’s not so much a “recipe” as a “process”, because ingredients aren’t the thing that makes the difference.

                  https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...vq-pastrami”

                  https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...s-vide-chuckie



                  Comment

                  • NapMaster
                    Club Member
                    • Jan 2019
                    • 559
                    • Denham Springs, LA
                    • WebberSummitGold6burnerLP, ShotGunSmoker

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                    #14
                    What i like about the process is there seems to be an abundance of time for napping. Very nicely presented.

                    Rhet

                    Comment


                    • Thunder77
                      Thunder77 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      @Polarbear77, you can’t make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious! 😜

                    • NapMaster
                      NapMaster commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Polarbear777 I guess that leaves me out. 😂

                    • Polarbear777
                      Polarbear777 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I did use the word “almost” on purpose. :-)
                  • JGrana
                    Club Member
                    • Aug 2016
                    • 251

                    #15
                    Reviving this thread. Tomorrow I am going to do the first step of the QVQ brisket. I have a Costco Prime packer, 11lbs, trimmed down to 7. I took a few inches of the flat for a future Pho and kept some of the scraps for the Pho broth. Rendered a bunch of the fat for Beef Love.

                    Did the dry brine late today. Will put on the smoker tomorrow and get some bark going, 2 hours or so. Will use a combination of hickory and cherry.
                    My plan is to SV at 135F for 48-50 hours. I want more medium/steak like. Do the quick chill and put in the fridge until the final smoke on Monday. Since I will have the KBQ running, I will also put a few chicken halves on for dinner.
                    Pics to follow ;-)

                    Comment


                    • Troutman
                      Troutman commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Good luck, look forward to the results !!

                    • Potkettleblack
                      Potkettleblack commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Go longer. Or at least pinch at 48 and see what you think.

                    • JGrana
                      JGrana commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks guys. Potkettleblack, yes, I have been reading other SV brisket articles. Kenji goes as long as 72 hours at 135, Anova at least 50 hours. I will start the pinch test at 50 and go from there.

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                  PK 360 grill

                  Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

                  The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

                  Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

                  Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only


                  Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

                  fireboard bbq thermometer

                  With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

                  Click here to read our detailed review


                  Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

                  Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

                  Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

                  Click here to read our detailed review and to order